“Italy is an important NATO ally, a leading partner in Afghanistan and Iraq, and key in bringing stability to the Mediterranean region,” the White House said in a statement.
“Together, the United States and Italy will look to deepen cooperation in addressing global conflicts and promoting economic prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.”
The visit will take place after a NATO summit on July 11-12th, which could prove another spiky encounter between the US president and the leaders of Europe. Trump has repeatedly complained that European countries don't contribute enough to NATO's budget. He's also expected to meet President Vladimir Putin of Russia around the same time, another bone of contention with the European allies.
Street art by TvBoy in Rome shows Conte “playing ball” with Trump and Putin. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Conte, at least, can expect a warm welcome in Washington, having already won Trump's praise for being “very strong on immigration”. The Italian premier also sided with Trump on Russia at the G7 summit in Canada, his international debut in office and the first and only time to date he has met the US president.
“I agree with Donald Trump: Russia should be back in the G8,” Conte tweeted ahead of the meeting earlier this month, having already promised that Italy would review its sanctions on Russia.
But he'll be hoping to avoid another awkward moment like the one at that summit, caught on camera in a clip that was roundly mocked in Italy, when he waved to Trump as the US president sat down at the negotiating table – only to be completely ignored by the commander-in-chief.
Conte will be the second Italian prime minister to visit Trump's White House, after his predecessor Paolo Gentiloni was invited in April 2017.
On that occasion the US president praised Italy as a “key partner” and “true friend”, while contradicting its leader over the responsibility of other countries to help stabilize Libya. He also took out his earpiece for the final minutes of their joint press conference, skipping the translation of the Italian premier's last answers.